Chinese people toast for a better Year of the Rabbit

A girl displays "bunny dolls" at the Spring Festival cultural temple fair held in Ditan Park, Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 2, 2011. Variety of goods related to bunny are well received by visitors at temple fairs kicked off in Beijing on Wednesday, the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaogen)

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — From dumplings in the north and rice cakes in the south, people across China Wednesday overloaded their tables with holiday foods, cheering for the Spring Festival family reunion and praying for a better life in the coming Year of Rabbit.

In a remote village in Guizhou Province, villagers were sharing millet cakes and preserved pork as sunshine dispelled cold and sleet, which have plagued China’s southwest for a month.

“This year’s Spring Festival is especially cheerful, since our dream of a new home has come true,” said villager Zhang Jiuyun.

Zhang’s home was severely damaged in the snow and sleet disaster, but with the help of local villagers and funds from the government, Zhang built a larger house without spending much money.

The Spring Festival is also an important occasion for migrant workers to enjoy family reunions after toiling for higher incomes in wealthy coastal provinces for a year.

“I’ve brought back red wine and cookies imported from Italy as gifts for my parents,” said Ding Zhenghe, a Shenzhen-based factory owner who has worked his way up from a migrant worker.

But Ding said, after years in the modern city, he still yearns for the the food cooked by his mother in the rural home.

The Spring Festival, which falls on Thursday, also marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. It is a time for family dinners, gift giving and fireworks.

Nangkun Tashi, a villager in the earthquake-hit Yushu, northwest China’s Qinghai Province, celebrated the first Lunar New Year after the disaster with traditional Tibetan food, such as mutton and butter tea.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Yushu in April 2010, killing about 2,200 people and leaving Tashi’s village in ruins.

Tashi’s family narrowly survived the quake, and have recently moved into a new home, which was provided by the local government two months before.

In Zhouqu County, Gansu Province, 990 tons of grains have been delivered to the 473 survivors, who now lived in temporary housing after a massive landslide leveled the county, leaving over 1,500 people dead in August.

“We are able to hold a celebration, even though we’ve lost everything in the landslide,” said local resident Yao Shelin.

“We’ve received flour, cooking oil, and even the wok is a donation,” said Yao.  (*)

Chinese President, VP attend New Year gala for military veterans

Chinese President Hu Jintao

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — Chinese President Hu Jintao extended new year greetings to military veterans at a new year gala in Beijing Monday, ahead of the Chinese lunar new year, which falls on Feb. 3.

Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, wished the veteran army officers a happy new year and good health.

Xi Jinping, vice president and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, also attended the gala, along with other senior military officials.  (*)

Photostream : Chinese President Hu Jintao Arrives in US for State Visit

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) stand at the end of the red carpet during an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base January 18, 2011 at Camp Springs, Maryland. Chinese President Hu is on a state visit to the United States. He will be welcomed with a state arrival ceremony and have official meetings with the Obama Administration at the White House tomorrow. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Chinese President Hu Jintao talks with Vice President Joe Biden during an arrival ceremony,Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

China's President Hu Jintao receives flowers upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is at rear. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao greets members of the United States government alongside Vice President Joe Biden (R) upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao and and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) listen to national anthems upon Hu's arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

British Deputy PM welcomes £2.6bn agreements between UK and China

Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang

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London, Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / DPM.CabinetOffice.Gov.UK) — Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has welcomed Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang to London following his visit to Edinburgh yesterday.

Official talks took place at Lancaster House, after which the Deputy PM and Vice Premier Li witnessed the signing of agreements with an estimated value of £2.6 billion, which will further strengthen ties with China.

The talks covered global issues including international security and climate change in which the UK and China work closely together.

Co-operation on conservation and culture were also on the agenda, with China agreeing to gift a breeding pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for ten years. The arrival of Tian Tian and Yuangguang will boost research, conservation and tourism in Scotland and the UK.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (standing 7th, L) speaks with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang during a trade signing ceremony at Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London, Enlgand. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Mr Clegg said:

It is a pleasure to welcome Vice-Premier Li and the accompanying Chinese delegation to the UK. We had successful talks covering a range of issues, and we witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including commercial deals with an estimated contract value of at least £2.6 billion.

“This week’s visits, and the agreements we have seen today, follow the Prime Minister’s successful delegation to China in November, demonstrating the momentum we are building together towards even stronger relations. The kind gift of a loan of a breeding pair of giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yuangguang, is a sign that we can co-operate closely on a broad range of environmental and cultural issues, as well as commerce.

“Together, today’s deals will safeguard 700 jobs in the UK and are estimated to have the potential to create many more.”

Agreements signed today include a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to increase sales to China. Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr Ralf Speth, who attended the ceremony said:

This commitment to sales in China in 2011 of some 40,000 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles with a value in excess of £1 billion not only signals the acceleration of our growth plans but also reflects both the importance of the Chinese market to Jaguar Land Rover and our value to the UK economy.

BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed an agreement on deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.

The China National Petroleum Company and INEOS signed two agreements today. INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said:

We look forward to the success of this joint venture with the China National Petroleum Company. The agreement will further investment in our refineries, in France and the UK, ensuring their competitiveness in European markets, and securing jobs and skills in the UK and France. It will be hugely beneficial. Here in the UK, its success at our Grangemouth site will directly support 1,400 jobs at the site and indirectly around 7,000 jobs in central Scotland. We also look forward to mutual benefit in China through our agreement on technology sharing.

List of agreements

The full list of agreements signed today is as follows:

An agreement was signed on the terms of cooperation in the protection of and research into Giant Pandas between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation on low carbon.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the NDRC signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the China Development Bank (CDB) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) signed an agreement.

INEOS Group and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a framework agreement.

INEOS Group and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a strategic partnership deal.

Jaguar Land Rover and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Trading (Shanghai) signed a letter of intent.

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd. and the Export and Import Bank of China signed an agreement.

The China Development Bank and HSBC signed a memorandum of understanding.

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), Beijing International Brand Management Centre and Beijing Chaoyang District signed a memorandum of understanding.

A cooperation agreement was signed between China Nonferrous Metals International Mining (CNMIM) and Kryso Resources plc (UK).

Soho Data Holdings Company Ltd and Xiking Culture Centre Media Beijing Company Ltd signed an investment agreement for the Soho Data Centre project.

Shanghai Haobo Chair (UK) Company signed an agreement to buy a 45% equity stake in ES UK Group.  (*)

British PM David Cameron welcomes Chinese Vice-Premier to Number 10

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd, R) attends a round table discussion with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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London, Jan 10 (KATAKAMI / NUMBER10.GOV.UK) — Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang to Number 10 as part of a four-day visit to the UK.

The PM said the Vice-Premier’s visit would “build on the momentum” from his trip to Beijing last year and offered a real opportunity for Britain in terms of trade, jobs and economic growth.

Earlier today, Deputy PM Nick Cleggheld bilateral talks with Vice-Premier Li and attended a signing ceremony at Lancaster House where the two countries signed agreements with an estimated value of £2.6 billion.

Mr Clegg said that the agreements signed by British and Chinese companies would safeguard 700 jobs in the UK, with the potential to create many more.

Other agreements included cooperation in the protection of and research into Giant Pandas between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) which will see the loan of a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. (*)

 

Trade deals and pandas after Britain-China talks

A photo provided by Adelaide Zoo shows a panda. Britain and China have signed trade deals worth £2.6 billion pounds and announced Beijing will loan a pair of pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years. (Adelaide Zoo/File/Dave Mattner)

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LONDON, Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / AFP) – Britain and China have signed trade deals worth £2.6 billion and announced Beijing will loan a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years.

The agreements were inked during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Britain has rolled out the red carpet for Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese premier next year, as it scrambles to catch up with European rivals Germany and France in landing business deals with booming China.

On the second day of his visit to Britain on Monday, Li also held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron.

On Tuesday he will receive a royal welcome from Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and will make a speech at a banquet organised by the British Council.

The trade agreements include a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to increase sales of vehicles in China to the 40,000 mark this year in a deal which the automaker said was worth £1bln.

“We had successful talks covering a range of issues, and we witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including commercial deals with an estimated contract value of at least 2.6 billion pounds,” Clegg said.

In other deals, BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed an agreement on deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang, right, listens to Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Lancaster House in London, Monday Jan. 10, 2011. Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to sign commercial deals worth at least 2.6 billion pounds ($4 billion) - but the business dealings were overshadowed by a deal to loan pandas. Li oversaw an agreement to bring a breeding pair of pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, on a 10-year loan. Seven-year-old male Yangguang and female Tian Tian - which translate as "Sunshine" and "Sweetie" - are expected to arrive in the coming year from China's Wulong Panda Research Institute. (AP Photo/Paul Hackett, pool)

Petro-chemical group INEOS agreed to work more closely with China National Petroleum Corporation, which the British company said would lead to increased investment in its refineries in Britain and France.

The talks also covered international security and climate change “in which the UK and China work closely together”, a British government statement said.

It was also announced that China will loan a breeding pair of giant pandas — named Tian Tian and Yuangguang, which translates to Sweetie and Sunshine — to Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland for 10 years.

The pair, born in 2003, will be the first pandas in Britain for 17 years and the move “will boost research, conservation and tourism in Scotland and the UK”, the statement said.

The project is the result of five years of high-level political and diplomatic negotiation.

“Pandas are a Chinese national treasure. This historical agreement is a gift to the people of the UK from China,” said Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming.

“It will represent an important symbol of our friendship and will bring our two people closer together.”

Li has already visited Spain and Germany on his European visit, accompanied by a 150-strong business and political delegation.

Writing in the Financial Times on Monday, he said the world should not fear a rapidly growing China.

China’s development benefits other countries,” Li wrote. “We welcome the entry into our market of competitive goods and services from around the world, and will provide a fair and even more transparent environment for foreign investors.”

Li added that “reform and opening-up are the driving forces behind our development”, but warned that “China’s development will not be possible without the world — and world development needs China”.

The visit follows Cameron’s trip to China in November, when he was the first Western leader to visit the country since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

While he did not publicly confront Chinese leaders over human rights, Cameron used a speech to university students to call for “greater political opening” as the Chinese economy surges forward.

Deputy premier Clegg has insisted that “no subject will be off limits” during the talks in the four-day British visit.

Cameron’s Beijing visit produced deals worth around one billion pounds to British companies. In contrast, Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to France in November yielded 20 billion dollars of contracts.  (*)

Photostream : Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang meets British Leaders

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd, R) attends a round table discussion with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) attends a round table discussion with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) attends a round table discussion with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang leaves following a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) in 10 Downing Street in central London, on January 10, 2011. Britain and China signed trade deals worth 2.6 billion pounds (four billion dollars, 3.1 billion euros) on Monday and announced Beijing will loan a pair of pandas to a zoo in Scotland for 10 years. The deals were signed during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) walks with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (R), during a visit to Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Lancaster House in London January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (standing 7th, L) speaks with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang during a trade signing ceremony at Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London, Enlgand. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne before a meeting at Mansion House in central London, on January 10, 2011. Britain and China signed trade deals worth 2.6 billion pounds (four billion dollars, 3.1 billion euros) Monday and announced Beijing will loan a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years. The agreements were inked during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL/POOL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese Premier Ends Pakistan Visit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) is flanked by his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) as he waves to Pakistan-China businessmen as they arrive to attend Pakistan-China Business Cooperation Summit in Islamabad on December 18, 2010. China and Pakistan concluded another 10 billion dollars' worth of deals on December 18, as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing would "never give up" on the troubled nuclear-armed Muslim country. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

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December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ended a 3-day visit to Pakistan Sunday.

Mr. Wen addressed a joint session of parliament, telling the lawmakers China’s stance is “firm and clear” that it is willing to work with Pakistan and the international community to make an “unremitting effort to combat terrorism.”

The premier said in his parliament address the “symptoms and root cause” of terrorism need to be eliminated.

Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan is widely seen as a haven for militants.

Pakistan and China signed a number of business deals worth billions of dollars during Mr. Wen’s visit.

Officials say the deals aim to promote cooperation in the energy sector.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said Islamabad is extending China incentives to promote investment and development in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan says China has also agreed to provide $229 million to Pakistan to rebuild from floods that devastated much of the county, and another $400 million in loans.

Cambodian PM leaves for China for official visit

FILE : Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

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December 13, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday left here for Beijing, China to pay an official visit from Dec. 13 – 17 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao.

Hun Sen was seen off at the Phnom Penh International Airport by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, minister of interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, minister of council of ministers and He Leping, charge d’affaires of Chinese Embassy, as well as other government officials.

He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Cham Prasidh, minister of commerce and other high-ranking officials.

The premier said on Sunday that his visit to China is aimed to strengthen friendly relations between the two countries in various fields and learn Chinese experience to help develop the country.

During his five-day visit, Hun Sen will pay courtesy calls on Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo and will hold talk with Premier Wen Jiabao. He will also receive in a Royal Audience by former king Norodom Sihanouk, who is in Beijing for medical treatment, according to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Moreover, apart from Beijing, Hun Sen will also visit other Chinese cities: Tianjin, Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing, and will sign more than dozen documents with China.   (*)

 

Source: Xinhua, People’s Daily Online

 

China calls for North Korea talks

The USS George Washington is taking part in joint US-South Korean military exercises over the next few day in the Yellow Sea. Photograph: Charles Oki/EPA

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Time not right for six-way meeting in Beijing, says Seoul, amid military muscle flexing by North and South Korea.

November 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / GUARDIAN.CO.UK) — China has called for emergency international talks over North Korea as Pyongyang reportedly prepared missile batteries and the US and South Korea launched joint military exercises.Tensions on the Korean peninsula are as severe as they have been at any time since the end of the Korean war in 1953, and a senior official in Beijing today suggested emergency talks between the six countries that had taken part in talks on Pyongyang’s disarmament.

Wu Dawei, the Chinese envoy to the peninsula, said representatives from Pyongyang and Seoul, China, the US, Russia and Japan, who have been meeting over the last seven years to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, should convene in Beijing early next month “to exchange views on major issues of concern”.

The talks themselves, moribund for two years after North Korea walked out, look unlikely to be resumed, with Seoul’s presidential office saying it was not the right time for such a move. But such an urgent intervention from China, North Korea’s only significant ally and the sole outside country with any sway over its actions, is significant, not least in underlining the gravity of the situation.

The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads along its Yellow Sea coastline. The North’s military is also aiming surface-to-air missiles at South Korean fighter jets flying near the western sea border, the agency added.

Two South Korean marines and two civilians died on Tuesday when the North unleashed, without warning, an artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong island, which hosts both a military garrison and a small fishing community. The attack, seen as the most serious single military incident since the end of the war, destroyed dozens of homes , injured another 18 people, and set the South on a war footing.

North Korea described the civilian deaths as “regrettable” but blamed the South for placing residents on the island, which Pyongyang insists is North Korean territory, as human shields. The North also condemned a major US-South Korea military drill in the Yellow Sea, which began today.

The four-day exercise, involving the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, is believed to be taking place about 100 miles south of Yeonpyeong. While Seoul insists the exercise is both routine and pre-planned, the North’s National Peace Committee of Korea described it as “pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost”.

Pyongyang issued a series of warnings, and threatened to “give a shower of dreadful fire and blow up the bulwark of the enemies if they dare to encroach again upon [North Korea’s] dignity and sovereignty, even in the least.”

Seoul is being almost equally bellicose. At a funeral yesterday for the marines killed on Yeonpyeong, the South Korean military commander, Major-General You Nak-jun, laid flowers at an altar and vowed that his country would retaliate if there was a further attack from the North.

“Our marine corps … will carry out a hundred – or thousand-fold” in retaliation, he said at the ceremony. “We will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea.”

Dozens of journalists have ignored South Korean military warnings about staying on Yeonpyeong, which is seven miles from North Korean territory. They and locals sought cover today after hearing new bursts of artillery fire. No rounds landed on the island.

Dai Bingguo, a senior Chinese foreign policy adviser, visited South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak. In unusually strong comments Lee made plain his concerns that Beijing was not exerting sufficient pressure on North Korea, calling on China to contribute to peace in a “more objective, responsible” manner.

The chairman of North Korea’s supreme people’s assembly, Choe Thae Bok, is due to visit Beijing from Tuesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Since the Korean war ended, with a truce rather than a formal treaty, tensions between the two sides have risen and receded many times. However, the past year has seen particularly intense pressures, notably after a South Korean warship was sunk in March, killing 46 sailors. An international team of investigators concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the vessel, although Pyongyang denies any involvement.

The latest crisis has already cost the South Korean defence minister, Kim Tae-young, his job amid accusations that the response to North Korea’s initial attack had been too weak. Now South Korea’s president has sent 4,000 troops as reinforcements to Yeonpyeong and other nearby islands with extra weapons and new rules of engagement that give them greater scope to respond if attacked.

Photostream : Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visits Russia

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (L) talks to China's Premier Wen Jiabao during their meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki outside Moscow, November 24, 2010. Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree the price of Russian gas supplies to China before mid-2011, Russia's top energy official said, but the two countries' prime ministers noted on Tuesday bilateral trade was booming. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Sergei Chirikov/Pool )

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with China's Premier Wen Jiabao during their meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki outside Moscow, November 24, 2010. Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to agree the price of Russian gas supplies to China before mid-2011, Russia's top energy official said, but the two countries' prime ministers noted on Tuesday bilateral trade was booming. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Sergei Chirikov/Pool )

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, center, prior to his meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. The Chinese Prime Minister will be taking part in the International Tiger Forum. Demand in China poses the greatest threat to tigers in the wild and organized crime runs the illicit trade in the world's largest felines, international experts said. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at a joint news conference after talks at the Konstantin Palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. Putin says Russia and China have agreed to increase the use of national currencies in bilateral trade. (Getty Images / AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao shake hands during a documents signing ceremony at the Konstantin Palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. Putin says Russia and China have agreed to increase the use of national currencies in bilateral trade. (Getty Images / AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to visit Russia, Tajikistan

File photo : Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) meets with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, capital of Russia, Oct. 28, 2008.

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November 18, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to Russia and Tajikistan from Nov. 22 to 25 at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Akilov.

During the visits, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 15th Chinese-Russian prime ministers meeting and the ninth prime ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Source: Xinhua

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